It’s taken me a very long time to join the blogging world. I have been journaling pretty consistently, by hand no less, for over ten years. I am a belly-button gazer extraordinaire. However, as a writer who has published both research-based objective works, as well as very personal essays, I wanted to make sure any public blogging made sense for my professional reputation.

When members of my writing organization met to discuss blogging, we held varying opinions on how personal a professional writer should get in a blog. That night we brainstormed on how to categorize ourselves.

I’ve been stewing about that for a couple months, but what I realize now is that I am first and foremost a writer of personal material. I do write about life, so it suits me to blog about my life—even if there are millions of other people who do the very same about their own lives.

Good personal writing is a gift. When it works, a personal writer can express for us what we can’t seem to express for ourselves. As readers, we find ourselves amazed to discover that somehow somebody else seems to know exactly what we think or can relate to just what we went through.

But personal writing can even go beyond that. I’ve been reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love out loud to my daughter. My book club read it last month and I knew within chapters that my daughter should hear these words that are woven together so well.

Wednesday after school as I was reading to her she caught the emotion in my voice.

“What’s wrong?” she asked.

I croaked out, “Nothing—I’m just an empathetic reader.”

I may be an empathetic reader, but it takes a really good writer to pull me in that deep. I’ve never sent e-mail from an Italian Internet café to say goodbye forever to a guy as Liz Gilbert did. However, her words took me to that place and in that moment I might as well have been her.

Her belly-button gazing in Eat, Pray, Love certainly touched me. I don’t promise my words have the power hers do, but I know I’m a lot happier for getting them out of my head and into a journal, blog, or some form of print.

And, if perchance my words do reach someone else, then they are no long just all about me. As David Whyte states in his poem “Loaves and Fishes”: People are hungry, and one good word is bread for a thousand.”

Let my words be that bread.